In Regards to Chapters 2 through 4 of
Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica
17 March 1999
Parts of the book did read like a text book. While I felt a lot
of background information was actually necessary, I think Robinson
needs to develop his voice better. He has a lot of great ideas, but
his voice is too dry. It has no charisma.
Parts of the book did read like a text book. While I felt a lot of background information was actually necessary, I think Robinson needs to develop his voice better. He has a lot of great ideas, but his voice is too dry. It has no charisma.
I didn't mind Robinson reinterating the cold that much. True, it was repetitive, but I think to visit Antartica, it would take a very long time before that word found its way out of the foreground of your consciousness, whereas the reader at home might lapse in reflecting about the cold if Robinson was not so insistent upon it.
I found the idea of a love story in Antartica, but I thought all the political intrege was much more important and interesting. On the other hand, it was interesting to consider the logistics of women in Antartica. In ways, this is not unlike what I've heard about Alaska. The role reversal is to be expected. Perhaps even oversized women since Antartica is not a friendly environment towards frail little women... a harsh environment requires physical strength to cope with it.
I'm not sure what to make of Val unlacing her boots to be sexy... I suppose there are matters of both aesthetics and practicality involved. Is this a conscious rejection by Robinson of women in high healed shoes? And to what extent are women still forced to wear them? I know many women who wear both boots and flat shoes.
Oddly missing, with the small female population, is any mention of homosexuality. Between loneliness and the desire to share warmth, it seems like a logical probability. Is this issue deliberately ignored or does it say something?
There are many parallels between this book and Dune. The lifeless and arid, frozen wasteland of Antartica can be compared to Dune's desert. Special clothing is needed in order to survive both environments. There are many political, economical, and ecological situations. Later in the book, Antartica has it's own nomad culture to parallel Dune's Fremen.
I agree that this book exposed some of the mythology behind American politics. In this way, Robinson was like a modern George Orwell, showing the power games, double speak, etc. What Robinson saves about how profits are treated verses how people are treated is absolutely true, especially with particular reference to downsizing. We may recall the UPS strike of a few years back. We may also look to the total reluctance most companies (CVS, for example) for accepting new full time employees. Instead, they seek to push all workers to the maximum number of hours possible with neither benefits nor bonuses for overtime.
Robinson seemed very aware that writing about Antartica was meant to be an act of cognitive estrangement for the readers. Many times he blatantly insists, "What is true for Antartica must be true for the rest of the world." I interpretted this to mean not only Antartica, the continent, but also Antartica, the book.
I can't say I know why anyone votes Republican very well, but I hardly know why anyone bothers to vote. I suppose it has something to do with Republicans pretending that they aren't going to take any more of our money away from us, never mind that they are always in favour of cutting the amount we get to begin with and then tax us anyway.
As for Star Wars, as long as the United States wishs to rule the world, they shall always look for excuses to maximize its technological might, regardless of the current relevance of the technology. In this country, power and profit are important; humans are not.
And for class conscience, I must admit to being very sensitive to it... between rich family (who don't share the wealth well) and poor friends, I feel the class barriers constantly. This is not an accident. This is a method of population control.